I´m the girl you see lingering at the grocery store, looking oh so happy at the aisles, reading through labels and picking items with a smile. Grocery stores are my kind of wonderland! Here are the goodies I´ve brought back from my trips to the grocery, because, really, good stuff are meant to be shared!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Erwtensoep: This Green Gunk is My Favorite Soup!

See that slimy green gunk on the left? The one that looks like
a) radioactive waste
b) something  that´s meant for the garbage can  or
c) something that´s ermmm, too gross to mention.

Well, that green gunk is the one food that I love above all else in The Netherlands.

My love story with the green hunk, I mean green gunk began two years ago when I first visited The Netherlands.  On the first day of my visit, my host-BFF introduced me to HEMA, what the Dutch call as their version of Ikea.  Like Ikea, the big Hema stores usually have cafeterias where one can have hot meals, sandwiches, pastries, cakes and well, soup.

That particular day was a bit cold,  and so I decided to have soup.  There was a rather anemic looking chicken soup and a green gunk labelled Erwtensoep.  Of course I choose the weird looking food!
And thus began my love for the Ewtensoep.

What is Erwtensoep?
It´s the dutch version of split pea soup.  That green coloring? That´s from the chlorophyll of the peas.
The soup, according to google, also has  carrots, potato, leek, onion and of course some seasoning.  But for me, the icing on the ermm, soup, are the chunks of  Dutch smoked sausage called rookworst mixed in the sauce.  Those meaty chunks add oomp to the decidedly mellow and comforting taste of the veggies.

Fast forward to now, and through a strange twist of fate ( or actually my desire to get out of what has become a bit of a monotonous existence in Spain),  I found myself living and working in The Netherlands.  And it is a bit shameful really, but during my first few weeks, while I was grappling with a lot of challenges, I found solace in eating bowls upon bowls of Ewtensoep as I second-guessed my decision of transferring here.  You could not have imagined how many times I berated myself during my first month here.
Are you crazy?  You chose to leave a stable job, that beautiful city with great food, gracious people and unending happenings for this cold land and those pushy people who don´t care what happens to you as long as they get what they want?

And truly, in my first few weeks here,  each grocery visit  would find me with cans and tetrapaks of Erwtensoep.  It was my comfort food, the one sure thing I knew was good in this place.  I think I have tasted all the brands of Erwtensoep available.  There´s Unox, the market leader in ready made hearty soup in Holland,  Konig which is a bit more expensive than Unox, and then there were the house brands of the different supermarkets.   I´ve tried Hoogvliet Grocery´s and Lidl´s versions of Erwtensoep.  And so far,  this brand is my favorite:

                         This is my favorite Erwtensoep.

I like this the most because the soup has chunky bits of veggies, and thus more texture.  The taste, to be honest, is all too similar among all the Erwtensoep I´ve eaten.  It´s the texture that makes this soup better than the rest.

Spring is coming, and with the advent of the tulips and sunshine,  the need for hearty soup to comfort us through the cold days is waning.  But I still keep a few packs of the soup, just in case.  It is the perfect dinner on nights when I am too tired to do anything and when a sandwich won´t cut it.    And it is still the one comfort food that I cling to, even as I  am slowly slowly getting used to the routine of my  life here in The Netherlands.

Where to Buy
Ewtensoep in tetrapaks or cans are readily available at all groceries in The Netherlands.  Just heat the soup for a few minutes and voila, delicious green gunk for you!

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